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DEEP DIVE: Experience + Learn + Do A Studio in Design Thinking & Innovation

Date: Thursday - January 16, 2020
Time: All Day
Location: Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School

40 Charlton Street New York, NY 10014 map
3 - Part Series on 1/16/20, 2/12/20, & 3/5/20
Presented by The Innovation Institute @ LREI

DEEP DIVE: Experience+Learn+Do 

A Studio in Design Thinking & Innovation

The Brief:

  • A 7-week seminar focused on generating solutions to an opportunity or challenge at your school

  • Whether teacher, administrator, or staff member, engage deeply and solve for a pressing, mission-relevant challenge

  • Come by yourself, with a partner, or with a team

  • Learn and practice a set of powerful human-centered design and innovation skills to address your challenge in 3 in-person sessions and 2 remote sessions

  • Work and collaborate with individuals, pairs and teams from other schools during the in-person sessions

  • Use these skills back at your school to research, ideate and prototype a solution(s) to your challenge

  • Get feedback from studio participants and coaches throughout the Innovation Institute

2020 In-Person Session Dates:


Session 1: Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 9:00am - 4:00pm

Session 2: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | 9:00am - 4:00pm

Session 3: Thursday, March 5, 2020 | 9:00am - 4:00pm

  • For full day sessions, breakfast will be served at 8:30am, session will begin at 9:00am and end at 4pm Lunch, snacks + beverages will be provided.

Between Session Work Commitment Expectations:

DEEP DIVE coaches will be available for a 1-hour video conference call between each session, as well as email + other online communication coaching help.

Participants are expected to dedicate at minimum 4 hours of work to their design thinking projects between the in-person sessions in order to apply their learnings.


NYSAIS members: $1000

non-NYSAIS members: $1200

Register here

Location: Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School

40 Charlton Street

New York, NY 10014   map

Presented by The Innovation Institute @ LREI and Learning Collaborative

What is DEEP DIVE all about?

DEEP DIVE gives participants a deeper understanding of the Human-Centered Design process and how its methodologies can solve the most pressing challenges we face in our school communities. The best way to learn design thinking is to do design thinking; this studio is designed to create that exact learning experience.

This is not your typical workshop; this is a 2-month long professional development commitment that includes in-person sessions and between session work to ensure deep learning and tackle a meaningful challenge. In its fifth year, DEEP DIVE is a collaboration between the Innovation Institute at LREI and Learning Collaborative. DEEP DIVE is structured as:

  • 3 full day, in-person sessions: participants learn Human-Centered Design methods (e.g., empathy-driven research, problem-solving based on motivations and pain points, brainstorming methods that result in unique ideas, and collaborative approaches to problem solving). Participants will work individually and collaboratively to move their self-identified design challenge through the stages of the design thinking process.

  • Between session work + coaching: Attendees will use the Human-Centered Design practices they learn and apply them to a challenge(s) they’ve identified in their school context. We know that adults do their best learning when they receive meaningful feedback, and so we’ve designed coaching to continue between the in-person sessions.

Participants will leave DEEP DIVE with:

  • an understanding of and common language for using the Human-Centered Design process

  • an Action Plan - connected to a school-based opportunity grounded in the research, ideation and prototyping carried out during the sessions - that they can continue to refine and implement after DEEP DIVE concludes

  • a supportive community of educators committed to solving problems at their schools

  • ideas about how to extend the impact of their plan within their school

  • tools to support the continued use of Design Thinking in their practice

Why should I attend the seminar?

Anyone who works in a school, is interested in their own learning, and wants to better align their practice and the culture of their school with their school's expressed mission and values. This is not limited to classroom teachers - anyone in a school community is welcome!

  • You have an institutional challenge you want to solve; maybe it’s new, maybe it’s something you’ve been working on for awhile and are looking for a fresh approach to solving (this is a great opportunity to partner with a colleague, too!)

  • You have some ideas about new programs for your classroom, department, or school

  • You're committed to enriching and deepening your practice

  • You know that improving relationships in your organization (with colleagues, students, families, outside partners) is crucial to realizing your school’s mission

  • You want to enhance existing programs in your schools

  • You want to get feedback from other educators about your ideas

  • You've heard about Human-Centered Design and want to learn more

  • You’ve incorporated Human-Centered Design practices into your work and want to go even deeper

Okay, so what is Human-Centered Design?

Human-Centered Design is a creative problem-solving method and mindset. It’s empathy-driven, iterative, and collaborative. By using empathetic research techniques, visual approaches to gain new perspectives on research, and rapid prototyping techniques, Human-Centered Design leads to more interesting and effective ideas. It’s hard work, but good fun! Our focus will be on interactive, practice-based learning, because we believe that getting your hands dirty is the fastest way to develop creative muscles! The studio is designed to create a learning environment where you can practice these new skills on an work-focused project/challenge while being coached by practitioners from the fields of design, innovation, and education.

General Outline of the DEEP DIVE Experience:

Building Community + Setting Expectations for Success

ONLINE COMMUNITY: Once you’ve registered for the Seminar, we’ll send you information about how to do some exploring so you can identify a pressing and relevant mission focused question/ challenge you’ll design for during our sessions. We’ll provide a space online for you to share these ideas so we can start to build relationships before we meet face-to-face.


In our first full day in person session, we will:

  • Build our learning community by exploring and working towards a greater understanding of our school challenges + opportunities. We’ll uncover what’s unique to particular schools and what is shared across schools. Through this process, each participant/team will land on one key challenge to focus on during DEEP DIVE.

  • Teach an overview of the Human-Centered Design process, including methods and mindsets, and practice them in order to expand our problem solving approaches

  • Focus our energy on the 1st phase of the Human-Centered Design process, the EMPATHIZE Phase, where we’ll learn empathetic research practices and design our own research plans to implement between Session 1 and Session 2.

  • Clarify the various ways that coaching will take place between sessions and provide teams with materials and tools to guide their work before Session 2

BETWEEN SESSION WORK: DOING RESEARCH  January 17-February 11, 2020

  • You should expect to dedicate at least 5 hours of time to your Human-Centered Design project work between sessions

  • Carry out research relevant to your challenge

  • Collect research data + organize your research data in time for Session 2

  • Connect with your DEEP DIVE coach in the remote session scheduled for Jan 29th 7pm via Zoom:

    • Remote session designed to support your research work (making sure groups are on the right track and setting us up for our next in-person session on Feb 12th)

    • Make sense of the data you have collected so far

    • Learn to organize your data so that it will set you up for success in our next in-person session

    • Understand the mindsets we need going into our next phase: Define


In our 2nd full day session, we will:

  • Move through the design thinking Phase 2, DEFINE, where you’ll make sense of your research data and arrive at a refined challenge brief that will guide your next steps.

  • Explore the 3rd phase of Human-Centered Design, IDEATE, via a series of methods to discover unique ideas.

  • Set up the 4th phase of Human-Centered Design, PROTOTYPE by providing examples of prototypes and question guides you can create for your challenge. You’ll take your prototype ideas and test them between Sessions 2 + 3.


  • You should expect to dedicate at least 4 hours of time to your Human-Centered Design project work between sessions

  • Create a prototype(s) and test it(them) in your school context

  • Gather feedback using a question guide to orient you to “What do I want to learn?” from those who are using/experiencing the prototype

  • Refine your prototype and continue seeking feedback

  • Connect with your DEEP DIVE coach in the remote session scheduled for Feb 24th 7pm via Zoom:

    • Share your prototype plan.

    • Share what “test” has looked like so far and learn important tools for testing

    • Learn best practices for iterating on your prototype

    • Prepare your work for Session 5 (In-Person)


In our 3rd full day session, we will:

  • Complete the 4th phase of design thinking, PROTOTYPE + TEST We will reflect and refine your prototype based on the feedback and learnings you gained after the last session.

  • Engage in the final phase of the Human-Centered Design process, STORYTELLING, by learning best practices for socializing our ideas and telling the story of how your solution helps solve the challenges you identified at your school.

  • Reflect and explore how to best continue to incorporate Human-Centered Design practices into your work moving forward.

  • Celebrate the Human-Centered Design process and the learning community we created, generate feedback for future iterations of DEEP DIVE, and close out on how we can continue to take action on the ideas we have to make our school communities stronger.



What is Learning Collaborative:

We are a network of education, human-centered design, and facilitation experts. We believe that Human-Centered Design tools and practices can be applied to making any work in education more learner-centered, innovative, and meaningful. This initiative grew out of our ongoing work with LREI’s Innovation Institute, where for the last four years, we’ve built a community of education professionals who participate in a multi-week DEEP DIVE Human-Centered Design Seminar. Through this initiative, we are offering additional, immersive learning opportunities to help educators learn more about the value and application of Human-Centered Design in their daily work.

What we’ve learned:

Human-Centered Design is inspiring as a whole process (which DEEP DIVE [add link] participants undertake) - and it is also effective when educators use different parts of the process. This series of  workshops will teach you how. Learning Collaborative is offering a series of workshops for educators interested in exploring some of the ways that Human-Centered Design can affect meaningful change in your school cultures, programs, and teaching practices. We believe that Human-Centered Design tools and practices can be applied to making any work in education more learner-driven, innovative, and meaningful. Come learn how!

Your Trainers:

Hannah Dubin + Ashley Pinakiewicz both have a passion for learning and collaborating together on projects that make a positive difference inside of mission-driven organizations. They are the co-creators of the Learning Collaborative and in collaboration with the Innovation Institute @ LREI will be your trainers + coaches for this workshop.

Hannah Dubin:

Hannah is described as the “swiss army knife of facilitation” - no matter what the situation, she’s got the perfect activity ready to help move a group forward. With over 15 years of experience working as a facilitator, trainer and consultant, Hannah is a Principal Consultant at the facilitation firm The Group Forward. She’s worked with hundreds of teams and organizations helping them meet their goals and better serve their stakeholders with a people-centered approach to solving any problem. Hannah currently serves as a member of the Distinguished Faculty of General Assembly and volunteers as a Faculty member of Kutz Camp Leadership Academy for teens in the summer. Hannah has a Masters of Art in Leisure Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Management from Acadia University. In her research, she studied optimal learning environments, program evaluation, transfer of training, positive youth development, camp and productive culture organizations.


Ashley Pinakiewicz:

Ashley is a design thinker, brand strategist, and educator passionate about bringing human-centered design into K-12 schools and mission-driven organizations. Through her business, Looking Glass Strategy, Ashley consults with organizations and teams to bring human-centered strategy, messaging, and processes to their work. Ashley was the founding 7th grade English teacher at Girls Prep Bronx Middle School, where she learned alongside the world's best 7th grade girls. She cut her professional teeth at design and innovation firm IDEO, where she learned design thinking, brainstormed ideas and pitched clients as part of Toy Lab, taught design thinking to corporate clients, and worked closely with IDEO’s Education group. After her inspiring stint at IDEO, Ashley ran US business development for brand strategy firm Clear, an M&C Saatchi Company, and led the Creative Team at Tough Mudder, where she honed her content development skills. She has a BA in English Literature and Art History from Georgetown University and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.

The Innovation Institute @ LREI supports school and community-based learning and innovation initiatives that leverage the power of progressive pedagogy. This work is grounded in the values of experience, inquiry, collaboration, and growth.

The Innovation Institute supports the cultivation of mission-aligned learning experiences at LREI, seeks to develop connections with other schools and learning partners, and supports the professional growth of teachers within and outside of the LREI community.

This work is achieved through ongoing collaboration with partners on learning experience design, iteration, and reflection. Consistent with our origins as a laboratory school, the Innovation Institute supports projects imagined and created by LREI faculty and administration. These projects foster ongoing inquiry at LREI and seek to strengthen relationships with our other learning partners.  The work of the Innovation Institute is undertaken in the spirit of creativity, collaboration and consequence.


For additional information or questions contact LREI Director of Learning & Innovation Mark Silberberg at

Registration and Credit Card Payment 

  • For full day sessions - breakfast will be served at 8:30am, session will begin at 9:00am and end at 4pm Lunch, snacks + beverages will be provided.

Regular Registration Fees

  • NYSAIS Members - $1000.00 (3 or more registering together @$700.00)
  • Non-members - $1200.00  (3 or more registering together @$850.00)

Early Discount of $60.00 applies within 4 weeks of the event.

Late Fee of $30 applies within 2 days of the event.

Note: Payment is by credit card only. Questions about registration? Contact

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